I Used To Be A Journalist At A Glossy Women's Magazine Until I Was Let Go For Posting A Photo Of Myself At A Pro-Life Party

Today in the West, society supposedly champions and promotes diversity, right? Wrong. Being discriminated against in the workplace because of your beliefs, especially if they lean toward a Christian or conservative worldview, is becoming more commonplace. I know this because it happened to me.

By Delphine Chui4 min read
Pexels/Created Stories

Women like me are being penalized, marginalized, or even dismissed in the workplace solely based on personal views that conflict with the reigning “woke” trend of today. 

When these views, often deeply-held convictions with no impact on our professional competence, are publicly expressed or somehow discovered, you can be swiftly dropped and ostracized. The result? A genuine violation of our basic human rights and freedoms. 

How Cancel Culture Plays Out

I used to be a thriving freelance writer and editor across household titles in the women’s magazine world. I widely wrote about food, sustainability, fashion, celebrity, and business and was inundated with commissions. 

That was until I posted a photo of myself at a pro-life party on my personal (and private) Instagram account – a post of myself and my sister smiling in front of a backboard of smiley face emojis. That was it.

My original caption? “🎀 Standing up against the biggest form of discrimination 🎀” 

How ironic, considering what came next.

My post in no way violated the mission of my employer, touched on my work, or impacted my ability to write content for them. 

And yet, suddenly, I had “unfollows” in droves. It was a mass exodus of publications, editors, and former colleagues I had considered close friends. (And sadly, also “real-life friends” who weren’t interested in opening a dialogue about the topic.) These were people and brands I had worked with for over a decade and knew socially. It was a crushing experience with an enormous financial and emotional toll on me. 

I got “cancelled” because of my Christian conscience, despite my liberal company’s pledge to embrace “diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.”

Around six months later, I received an email spelling it out from an editor. She explained that the publishing house with which I was contracting had to stop working with me because my beliefs “went against what their brand stands for.”

I’ll say it louder for those at the back: Nothing I had said or done had any impact on my job performance. 

This editor didn’t need to specify my pro-life beliefs to make clear what she was talking about. Out of the tens of colleagues I’d been working with at the time, she was the only one courageous enough to reach out after the initial ghosting from everyone else.

Whatever Happened to Different Opinions and Friendly Debates? 

Having naively thought that only credit cards got cancelled, I sadly realized just how unwelcoming the magazine industry was to my worldview and to my beliefs as a Christian – which was ironic considering this same company boasts about their commitment to diversity, including running mandatory inclusivity training for members of staff. 

This confirmed what I loathed to admit: We live in a time when we are all free to believe what we want, as long as those beliefs are either homed privately in our own minds, never to be shared, or are aligned with current pop culture narratives.  

I am not alone in this. Social ostracization and punishment for the sharing of beliefs are dramatically on the rise. For some, the peaceful expression of their convictions has even resulted in criminal penalties. (Look up Päivi Räsänen’s “hate speech” case after tweeting a Bible verse.)

Freedom of conscience is a basic human right that should always be protected – now more than ever as we see our fundamental freedoms increasingly under attack.  

The UK’s Equality Act 2010 states that you must not be discriminated against because you are (or are not) of a particular religion or you hold (or do not hold) a particular philosophical belief. And international human rights law is unambiguous – the rights to freedom of thought, speech, conscience, and religion are inherent to every person. 

However, despite the clear legal protections in place, instances of viewpoint discrimination are abundant – and my impression is that we don’t even hear about most of them! This is the case even in democratic countries like the UK, where I live, and workplaces that claim a commitment to diversity.  

What Is Genuine Discrimination?

Direct discrimination occurs when people in the workplace are treated less favorably due to their beliefs. For example, being dismissed for expressing an opinion, or like me, having work, which has no connection to my beliefs, withheld because the company didn’t agree with my pro-life view.  

On top of this, there’s the more insidious social ostracization that deeply impacts our experience of work culture and results in those who do not conform to prevailing cultural views hesitating to share their beliefs at all. I did for years. All of this results in self-censorship and an inauthentic work culture that seeps into a one-dimensional society with a favored narrative and belief system. 

Workplaces need to do better. We need to do better. 

I should not be expected to leave my beliefs at home, especially when they in no way undermine my ability to do my job well. 

There’s nothing “human” about HR teams that cover up actual discrimination because they don’t agree with the viewpoint being discriminated against. By its very nature, genuine diversity isn’t meant to favor pithy placard slogans deemed trendy by the masses.

We live in a society that claims to stand up for minorities, and yet, the pro-life view (shared by one-quarter of Americans under 30) is seen as the wrong type of minority community.   

Commitment to Courage

I’m bringing my story to light to call for a commitment to real viewpoint diversity, including for unpopular views, as this is the only way to inspire us all not to hide our convictions out of fear.  

In the same way that my ethnic identity cannot be “switched off” at work, I should not be expected to leave my beliefs at home, especially when they in no way undermine my ability to do my job well. 

After essentially losing my livelihood because of my deeply held private convictions, I providentially ended up at ADF International, a legal organization that promotes the very rights that I had experienced come under attack, including free speech, freedom of religion, and the right to life for everyone.  

Two years on and I’m soon stepping back into the world of self-employment again, continuing to navigate the aftereffects of what happened to me and rebuilding my confidence and writing voice again. 

I’m asking what should be forefront of mind to those of us committed to living in a genuinely free society: If we aren’t allowed to share our opinions on our own personal platforms without fear of tangible consequences, do we really live in a democratic society that upholds our basic human rights? 

If my story can inspire even just one of you not to consent to be cancelled (as I did at the time, quietly bowing out without questioning anything), it’ll all be worth it. 

At the time, I lacked the knowledge of my legal protections, I lacked the boldness to question the system, and I lacked a support system that could have encouraged me to seek justice

What To Know: 

1. Learn Your Legal Rights 

It’s against the law to be discriminated against. In the UK, where I’m based, types of discrimination (also known as “protected characteristics”) include age, being married or in a civil partnership, being pregnant or on maternity leave, disability, race including color, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief and sex. Our government clearly states that we’re protected at work, in education, as a consumer, when using public services, when buying or renting property, or as a member or guest of a private club or association.

2. Challenge Your Company

Open the conversation with them after researching your rights. If they aren’t receptive to you, you can file a “subject access request” (or the equivalent in your country) to get access to any communication about you that may include keywords to the subject you’re being discriminated against.  

3. Build Your Community

Going through this isn’t easy, and you can’t do it alone. Finding a like-minded network of people who can act as both a soundboard and a sanity checker will be key for you getting through this experience. And remember, you really aren’t alone! If one-quarter of polled Americans publicly admit to being pro-life, you can guarantee there are way more of us – we just need to be assertive and prudent about sharing that in a way that normalizes the conversation and opens up dialogue. 

Support our cause and help women reclaim their femininity by subscribing today.